ABTRACT Before the Ottomans came out of Central Asia, Jews had established communities in Anatolia, and in other areas of what later came under the Ottoman Empire. These communities grew in number and size from immigration, especially when Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century. In Anatolia, the first few emigrants settled in the western parts (largely in Istanbul and nearby places) and later in the central region. The pressures on the Jews in several other Christian countries (France and the Italian states) soon increased Jewish arrivals in Ottoman areas. While earlier emigrants had been mostly Eastern European Ashkenazim, those from the Iberian Peninsula and southern Europe were chiefly Sephardim. Istanbul proclaimed as the capital city of the empire on its conquest from the Byzantines by Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, attracted many Jews due to its economic potential. What attracted Jews and others to the Ottoman Empire was the relatively unhampered freedom of religious practice and education, as well as a relatively liberal policy of immigration. Hence, Turkey’s Jewish population was a mix of old-timers and waves of new arrivals, of former Ottoman subjects and foreign ones (the latter prominent in Istanbul and Izmir), even as late as the twentieth century (Simon, Laskier & Reguer, (Eds.) 2003). The Jews were one of the most important minority groups of the Ottoman Empire. In the beginning, the population of the Jews was meagre, as they were almost native Jews living mostly in Arabic areas like Syria and Palestine. However their situation was not good, both, educationally and economically, but with the new conquests of the Ottomans especially in Europe, the population of the Jews increased. This increase in population began to intensify with the Jewish expulsion from the Spain and Portugal in 1492 when the Ottoman Sultan welcomed them to his Empire. This new group of migrating Jews was mostly educated and wealthy. So they had importance for the Sultan. In 1453 when Ottomans conquered Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II directed the Muslims, Christians, and Jews to come to this city and rebuild it as a capital city of the Ottoman Empire. This historical city had been damaged and haunted over the time because of the long period of wars between Muslims and Christians. Henceforth, the Sultan wanted to rebuild and repopulate this city (Braude, (Ed.) 2014).
The decade of the 1490s was one of the darkest eras in Jews history when they were forcibly expelled from Spain and Portugal on account of inquisition and religious wars. As per the Edict of Expulsion, Jews were ordered to leave the countries. Thousands of the Jews died while they were trying to reach safety. But almost the majority of them succeeded to save their lives when they reached the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Bayezid II welcomed all Muslims as well as Jews migrants to the Ottoman Empire. He sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of Admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to bring them safely to Ottoman lands. He sent out many statements all over the empire that the refugees were to be welcomed (Egger, 2008). The Jewish community was historically a small minority in the Ottoman Empire as compared to the larger Christian population. They constituted a highly diverse group in terms of origins, language, and cultures, such as Ashkenazi, Romaniot, Italian, and Sephardic Jews, with the latter constituting the majority. In the history of Sephardic Jews, their acceptance by the Ottoman Empire at a time of calamity (the expulsion from Spain) plays an important role to save them. Nevertheless, Jews in the Ottoman Empire were disposed to fare better than their counterparts in Christian Europe. Although the terms zimmi and gayrimüslim do not differentiate Jews from the Greek Orthodox or Armenians, from the perspective of each of these communities the distinctions were crucial. Historically allying with the powers-that-be, in this case, the Ottoman state, Jews competed successfully with the Christians (Neyzi, 2005). The Ottomans conquered Balkans in the 14th century. They ruled the area for a long time until the early 20th century. During this long period, a small but influential community of Jews was living in Balkans, some of them were settling there before the Ottomans took power but a huge number of them migrated to this area during the Ottomans rule. Jews were existing in the Balkan’s area for many centuries as a small but important element within the various ethnic and religious groups. They were living in the valleys, coasts, and mountainous areas of the Ottoman Balkans, which marked the northwestern reaches of Ottoman rule. By the seventeenth century, the population of Sephardim Jews originating from the Iberian Peninsula outnumbered the local Greek-speaking Romaniote Jewish societies in southeastern Europe. The Sephardim Jews absorbed the Romaniote and some
small groups of Ashkenazim that came periodically from elsewhere in Europe (Simon, Laskier, & Reguer, (Eds.). 2003). There were some major changes in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in the Balkan. These changes irrevocably altered Jewish lives and existence in the Balkans. The rise of nationalist groups among the non-Muslim peoples of the region, end of the Ottoman rule and the rise of new nation-states, development of Western industrial capitalist power in the area, and westernization of culture and politics all left their effects on the Jewish people (Simon, Laskier, & Reguer, (Eds.). 2003). With the rise of Zionism in the end of 19th century, the Ottoman’s policy towards Jews especially Zionism changed and they strongly prohibited Jews from settling in Palestine. Ottomans from the beginning were very careful about the demographic structure of the Palestine as the third holy land of the Muslim world, they already refused Jews appeals for residing in Palestine. Jews were allowed to settle in any parts of the empire except Palestine, even they were transferred from Palestine many times. In the end of 19th century when the Ottomans become very weak, Zionists thought that they could own Palestine with their financial support to the Ottomans, but their request again had been strongly rejected by the Sultan. ‘Zionism’ as a concept or ideology has been interpreted or understood from many angles. For some, it is a 'permanent national calling of all Jewry. Therefore it is justified and beneficial. For others, it is subservient to universal values, and whether these values are taken from Judaism, liberal humanism or from international proletarianism. For those who believe in universal human values and international proletarianism, Zionism is harmful and they consider it capitalism in its Imperialist stage. (Rodinson, M. (1975). The Young Turks revolution of 1908 gave a new fillip to Zionist aspiration in Palestine. The Jews of Turkey who believed in Zionist aims and objectives welcomed it. A Zionist Agency was allowed to be established in Istanbul with the hope of adapting to the new situation. The Young Turks proved susceptible to the Zionist overture and some Zionist institutions were permitted to function along with the learning of Turkish Language.
The Revolution of Young Turks in 1908 was interpreted by the Zionists as the start of a new era in the history of Jews in Turkey. The establishment of the Zionist agency in the same year in Istanbul was an effort to adopt the new circumstances, including the prospect of renewed diplomatic negotiations on the Palestine question. These positive changes stimulated a group of young Zionists to learn Turkish language and continued their studies in the Ottoman Empire (Benbassa, 1990). The reactions of local Arabs against Zionist policies in Palestine was also a result of the Young Turks revolution. When they came to power, they reinstated the constitution, which had been rescinded in 1978 by the Sultan Abdul Hameed II. The constitution granted the freedom of speech. So by the reinstatement of the constitution, the newspapers issued without censorship. This led to the publication of a series of anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish articles, especially in the Palestine and Syria (Muslih, 1988). The first two and one-half decades after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey (1923) were chiefly a period of political and cultural consolidation. The Turkish nation state had been established in opposition to the Universalist doctrines of Islam and of Ottoman tradition, both of which had rejected the idea of a nation state. Nationalism and secularism were two of the founding principles of Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal, the leader of the beginning years of the Republic wanted to create a nation state (Turkish: Ulus) from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish people were defined in Kemalist ideology as "those who protect and promote the moral, spiritual, cultural and humanistic values of the Turkish Nation” (Findley, 2010, p.56). The Republic of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal was primarily based on Turkish language and secularism as the fulcrum of Turkish nation state. Nevertheless, the majority of Sunni Muslims still retained the Islamic ethos of the poor and affection for Islam was still a reality. In this transitory phase the religious minorities, Jews as well felt a little uncomfortable. In 1933, when the Nazis government came to power in Germany, events that targeted Jews began taking place. (Turkey decided to stay out of World War II, though relations with Germany were maintained throughout the war.) In 1934, the “Thrace incidents” happened. Jewish communities had been established in cities in Thrace from the long time ago, they
were living in cities such as Edirne and Çanakkale. In that year, however, a boycott was began against Jewish traders in the region. Soon, attacks started on Jewish property and Jewish families, and the Jewish communities were forced to leave the area. Although the public silence on the Thrace events has been broken very late, some people believed that these incidents were part of a government plan to evacuate close areas to the border from minorities for security reasons (Neyzi, 2005). Before the Second World War, the Turkish authorities had started formal political and economic relations with the Jewish Agency, this Agency was authorized in 1938 to respond to the needs of the Yishuv in its own booth at the Izmir International Fair and display the Jewish national flag. Because Turkey remained neutral during World War II, the agents of Jewish Agency in Istanbul played a key role, as listening post and rescue center, for Jews fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. The government of Turkey had before welcomed several thousand Jewish immigrants from Nazi Germany, including more than one hundred professors who became lecturers in Turkish universities. There are also documented cases of courageous and successful efforts by the Turkish consuls in Marseilles and Rhodes to save Turkish Jews from Nazi deportations. (Simon, Laskier, & Reguer, (Eds.). (2003). Throughout the Second World War, raging anti-Zionism, pogroms and resultant Holocaust at the behest of Nazi Germany led to the extermination of Jews. This was a very dark episode in the history of mankind, and one of the most difficult times for the European Jews their history. The Jewish people were tortured, deported, killed and exiled in Europe especially from Germany and other areas. However, Turkey once again started helping the Jews to save them from their enemies. Turkey was helping them before the beginning of the world war when the anti-Jewish pogroms started in Europe. After the World War II, Turkish vote against the partition plan in the United Nations was the first Turkish reaction against the creation of Zionist state in Palestine. There were two important reasons when Turkey opposed the creation of Israel: reverence for the Islamic world and (the most important) the thought that Zionism is another face of Communism. However, Turkey recognized Israel in 1949 and became the first predominantly Muslim country to have done so, apparently contradicting her policy of neutrality in West Asia. The reasons for this sudden change in Turkish foreign policy have received little scholarly
attention. Given political orientation of Israel and her alignment with the West, and not the USSR as Turkey had originally worried, pragmatic decision of Turkey to recognize Israel simply acknowledged the geopolitical facts on the ground in 1949 (Walker, 2006). Turkish-Israeli relations, in the beginning, was not warm, especially from Turkey’s side, because the Turks were worried about the reaction of the Muslim world, thus the relations between two states started secretly and in a very limited part, that was security and intelligence sharing, but slowly the relations grew up and involved trade and political ties in the early 1950s. Earlier Turkish-Israeli relations were highly secretive in the beginning, especially during the times of David Ben-Gurion and Adnan Menderes. Ankara insisted on a low-profile relationship to prevent offending the Arab countries. The thirsting of Israel for recognition, felt the frustration echoed by Ben-Gurion when he criticized that “the Turks have always treated us as one treats a mistress, and not as a partner in an openly avowed marriage.” Cautious approach of Turkey was partly due to her obsession with alleged latent communism in the Zionist state (Codispoti, 2000, pp. 2-3). The attack of England, France, and Israel on Egypt in 1956 put Turkey in a more difficult position. The war was started after months of mutual criticism of one another by Turkey and Egypt, and Egypt and Iraq (then a Western puppet under Nuri Said). One of the attackers Britain was Baghdad Pact’s full member, which also included Iraq and Turkey (Gruen, 1970). After Suez war, Turkish-Israeli diplomatic relations followed at the level of chargé d'affaires, though they usually were prominent and expert diplomats. Nevertheless, the diplomatic relations did not completely break, as Turkey wanted to profit from the support of Jewish lobby in the United States (Turan, 2008). The second half of 1950s known as the golden years of Turkish-Israeli relations as they continued to engage while the diplomatic situation was not at a high level due to the Suez crisis, Turkey and Israel along with Iran constituted an informal coalition in order to prevent USSR to intrude into the Arab World and provoke Arab nationalism (Aras, 1998).
The anger of Turkey due to lack of Western support of Turkish plans on Cyprus issue led Ankara to change its policy towards the former adversaries, the USSR and the Arab countries as a kind of counter-move. The major motive for Turkey’s second thoughts about identifying her interests with those of the West was the US President Lyndon Johnson’s letter of 5 June 1964, to Turkish Prime Minister Inonu admonishing him not to send forces to Cyprus (Johnson, & Ismet Inonu. 1966). The crises of Cyprus, which had started in 1963 had far-reaching implications for Ankara’s political worldview, foreign policy perceptions, priorities, and relations with other countries, including Israel. Officials and scholars in Tel Aviv accepted that the Cyprus issue was a turning point in Turkish foreign policy towards Israel (Bengio, 2004). After the Six-Day War of 1967 between Arabs and Israel, a more cooling trend set in Turkey-Israel relations and continued through the first years of the Turgut Özal era in the early 1980s. The main reason was vacillating interests of Ankara in the Arab world. Showing more Ostpolitik than Peripheral Pact tendencies, the Turks wanted to reach out to Arabs in the early 1960s. The most excellent example of this change was Turkey’s open support of Arab positions as well as the Palestinian cause against Israel (Codispoti, 2000). Ankara’s pro-Arab policy did not pay dividends especially on Turkish relations with Cyprus and remaining Kurdish problem. Turkey was made aware of PLO’s help to Kurdish guerillas in Lebanon by Israel. However, Turkey still counts on Arabs help and support. Arabs did not favor Turkey and most of them went along with Cyprus and the same time expected Turkey to break relations with Israel (Walker, 2006). By the end of the Cold War, Turkey had to re-evaluate her relations with Israel. With the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact, the future of NATO was not explicit. The extension of the European Union (EU) to Eastern Europe, the indulgence of EU based defense and security projects, the plans to create a European rapid action force, all made Turkey hesitant. Turkey, located so far from the center of the NATO alliance and was outside the EU, she had enough reason to think whether her strategic security policies of Cold War era were still valid, and whether there was still a place for Ankara to stand under any collective umbrella (Çevik Bir, & Sherman, 2002).
With the end of the Cold War, Ankara started looking for allies in West Asia that could help her fight against the rising security challenges from Syria, Iraq, and Iran. In the Turkish view, Israel was the best choice, as it shared threat assessment of Turkey and it was a strong proWestern regime and had considerable Influence in America (Inbar, 2010). There was a popular frustration in Turkish public opinion from the Arab states, because they did not side with Turkey over the Cyprus issue and as for Syria, she supported the PKK. The Arab-Israeli peace talk of 1991 in Madrid, which led to the signing of ‘Declaration of Principles’ by Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, was another reason to make it possible for Ankara to start much closer relations with Israel without any objections from the PLO and the Arab countries (Makovsky, 1996). Relations between Turkey and Israel had two phases during the 1990s. The first stage extended from 1991 to 1995 and may be called the normalization period. The second phase continued from 1996 to 1999 and is known as the strategic alliance stage. Upgrading the level of Turkish representative in Israel from secretary to the ambassador was the beginning of Normalization (Alsarhan, 2003). In 1996, the Welfare Party surprisingly won the election and the party leader, Necmettin Erbakan, was elected and became Prime Minister of Turkey. Erbakan was a great disappointment for Israel as well as those Turkish leaders who were looking towards Israel as a close partner in the region. But the powerful Turkish Army did not allow the new party to do anything that would jeopardize the Turkey-Israel relations and very soon, Erbakan was forced to leave the office as P.M. The AKP, immediately after coming to power in 2002, declared itself as a pro-American and pro-Western party. It tried to liberalize Turkish economy and endeavored to assure the EU members to accept Turkey as a full member of the European Union. After the election of 2009, Turkish foreign policy started shifting and it began to come closer to the regional and Islamic countries. This change was on account of Europe’s continuous cold shouldering of Turkey and its aspirations. Turkish foreign policy towards Israel was warm in the first years of the AKP government, but from 2008 onwards relations between the two countries started deteriorating and in 2010,
it became nasty when Israel raided the Gaza flotilla where nine Turkish citizens were killed and much more were wounded. When in 2002 The Justice and Development Party (AKP) controlled the power, it promised to bring change and challenged domestic power structure of Turkey with aspirations to control bureaucracy of the state and reduced the military influence on the politics. This command for change, however, also influenced on Ankara’s foreign policy, as evidenced by early moves like rapprochement of Turkey with Syria and her starting of dialogue with Hamas, both of which were stark departures from old Turkish diplomacy (Ulgen, 2010). Turkey’s foreign policy under AKP has been changing from look West to look East. Turkey under AKP visualized to adopt a zero problem policy with her neighbors, while her relations with Western powers did not remain warm. Israel as a Western entity in the region, for a long time, had a special place in Turkish foreign relations. With the coming to power of AKP in Turkey, the relations between the two states started deteriorating over a period of time. This deterioration became critical in 2010 when the Israeli army attacked the Gaza flotilla. The question of Palestine loomed large in Turkey in her relations with Israel. The majority Muslims thought strongly for their deprived Palestinian brothers and sisters. So Palestine question though lay dormant in the early period of Turkish Republic had once again come to the forefront when AKP came to power. Turkish Public opinion surveys displayed that a great majority of the Turkish people had a strong sense of solidarity with the Palestinians. Although there were many negative thoughts about Arabs permeate Turkish society for their "treason" against the Ottoman Empire, Turks saw the Palestinian people as a group that was faithful to the Ottomans during the Arab revolt of 1916-28 (Burris, 2003). In 2013 during the President Obama’s visit to Israel, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and apologized for “any errors that could have led to loss of life” during the 2010 “Mavi Marmara” incident during which 9 people died. He cited “operational errors” and intelligence mistakes and promised compensation for the victims’ families. According to Mr. Erdogan’s office, the Turkish Prime Minister accepted the apology “in the name of the Turkish people” (NEOnline, 2013).
Statement of the Problem Turkey is a status quo power in the way that its foreign policy elites have fastened their thinking and practice to the framework of “the sanctity of borders of states, of multi-lateral institutions and norms of conduct”, even when it became clear that systematic changes had rendered some of these continuities no longer tenable. The major problem is Turkey’s position vis a vis the state of Israel. The relations are analyzed and defined by dominant of factors such as “fluctuating relations”, “complexities of political, military, intelligence, economic and cultural connections”. A central motif is the challenges of “uneasy coexistence”.
Objectives On the basis of the introduction stated above the specific objectives of the study are categorized as under: Try to describe Turkish foreign policy towards Israel from 1949 onward. To find out the important factors in Turkish foreign policy towards Israel. To show the rule of Turkish Armed force (TSK) in Turkey’s foreign policy towards Israel. either changes of power in turkey has any effect on her foreign policy towards Israel. To explore the causes of tumults in Turkey – Israel relation. To explain the role of public opinion and Question of Palestine in Turkey’s foreign policy towards Israel. To highlight gains and losses of Turkey regarding her relation with Israel.
Hypotheses This study is based on several hypotheses: Turkish-Israeli relations started based on their need for each other. Turkish Armed force has a significant role in Turkey’s foreign policy towards Israel.
End of the Cold War, Globalization, and policies of the Western, as well as the neighboring countries, brought the two countries close to each other. Religion is an important factor in Turkish-Israeli relations. The Question of Palestine is one of the important reasons of Turkish-Israeli deteriorating relation.
Method of research This study is a descriptive research in nature. Data used in this study will be collected basically from primary as well as secondary sources. The general process of this research consists of library research, the required data will be collected through studying books, scientific articles, theses, and dissertations. It also involves the investigation of journals, periodicals, databases and stored records.
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02 abtract.pdf - Shodhganga
ABTRACT Before the Ottomans came out of Central Asia, Jews had established communities in Anatolia, and in other areas of what later came under the Ot...